Tensions escalated in Anambra State on Tuesday as commuters and motorists were taken aback by the sudden spike in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) from N530 to N700.
In major cities like Onitsha, Nnewi, and Awka, petrol stations initially sold the product at N530 per liter in the morning, but news of the price hike spread rapidly, prompting anxiety among consumers.
Independent oil marketers operating in the state also added to the anxiety when they temporarily shut down their filling stations for several hours following the news of the increment. Eventually, they resumed operations in the evening, adjusting their pump prices accordingly.
The unexpected price surge led to transportation fares soaring above 30%, with commuters now paying N300 for a journey that cost N200 earlier in the day. Those caught off guard by the sudden increase found themselves stranded, unable to afford the new price.
Filling stations along the Upper Iweka along the Onitsha-Owerri Road in Onitsha were selling petrol at N700 per litre, while NNPCL facilities located along the Awka-Enugu Road and other marketers sold the product between N620 to N650 per litre. In Nnewi, some filling stations priced it at N690.
Some independent sales outlets closed temporarily, anticipating the need to increase prices further from the following day.
A petrol station manager in Onitsha revealed that they received a call from another station, instructing them to suspend operations and prepare to adjust their meter to reflect the new price. This communication came after NNPCL increased the pump price.
Faced with uncertainty and fears of a potential N800 per liter price, many transport operators and individuals decided to fill up their tanks and purchase petrol in Jerry cans to save for future use.
Chukwudi, a commercial transport operator in Onitsha, expressed his frustration, stating that the situation was causing immense suffering for everyone. He emphasized that transportation prices would have to be increased, as the situation had forced many people to resort to trekking.